Astral reports sky-high numbers

Canadian broadcaster's earnings surge 21%

MONTREAL — Canuck broadcaster Astral Media reported a hike in revenue and net earnings for the third quarter and nine-month periods, both ending May 31, thanks to boffo business in its pay TV and radio divisions.

Net earnings surged 21% in the quarter to C$43.3 million ($42.9 million), compared to $35.5 million a year earlier, execs said on Thursday. Revenue was $231 million, up 38% from $168 million in the third quarter last year.

Net earnings for the first nine months of the year grew 18% to $109 million, up from $92 million the previous year. Revenue was $632 million, up 32% from $479 million last year.

Montreal-based Astral is Canada’s largest pay TV owner, with 17 channels, including the Family Channel, Playhouse Disney, the Movie Network and MusiquePlus. It is also the country’s leading radio owner, with 82 radio stations in eight of Canada’s 10 provinces.

Astral bought Standard Radio’s 52 stations last fall for $1 billion.

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